Thursday, 5 April 2018
A Past Gone Mad
I have been on annual leave this week, I say annual leave but I have mostly been trying to referee the boxing matches between two spoilt little gits! Due to the inclement weather we have been mostly stuck in the house and with no painting required, (that's not quite true there are a couple of rooms that could do with being "freshened up" but I haven't been instructed to do so yet), I have been looking for something to do and decided to listen to all of the Fall studio albums , on vinyl when possible, all 32 of them in order. A task that I took to with gusto, although I know at least one person, thanks for the records btw Ctel, who could think of nothing worse. Sixteen albums in and some have been a revelation. The Frenz Experiment which I have always been rather ambivalent towards sounded a couple of nights ago, Bremen Nacht and Carry Bag Man sounding especially good. The album which I have enjoyed the most and had to play again was 1993's The Infotainment Scan an album that I duck into now and then but mostly to listen to the best cover version ever, the gruppe's cover of Lost In Music which really is astounding and may hint at why in the early 80s Motown were interested in signing the Fall. But the whole album is actually a tour de force from a group that had just been let go from their major label contract, Smith deciding to walk before becoming one of the next round of casualties in the Phonogram restructuring.
The album was recorded using Smith's own money at Hooky's Studio 16 in Rochdale and only when complete did MES go looking for a label to put it out.
The album has a techno feel about it without sounding like Techno, if you get what I mean. At the time there was a lot of talk about the song Glam Racket being a sideswipe at Suede, Smith however in his own inimitable way set the record straight when he told a journalist "The song has fuck all to do with the group Suede, and they shouldn't flatter themselves to think it is" The album as a whole I think focuses on the that feeling of getting older with songs like, It's A Curse, The League of Bald-Headed Men and A Past Gone Mad where Smith rallies against the nostalgia industry which had yet to really get established reminding us that Spangles and the 70s were shit and disparages his own older Fall fans with the first use of the phrase "look back bores". Even I'm Going To Spain, a cover of a song by someone who won New Faces, Steve Bent and was considered to be one of the worst songs ever sounds very good with Smith actually trying to sing and sounding quite wistful, if you can believe it.
This is an album that if you haven't heard you really need to give a go even if it is just to hear the castanets at the end of I'm Going To Spain. I have posted A Past Gone Mad which contains the unforgettable lyric, "and if I ever end up like U2 slit my throat with a garden vegetable.
The Fall - A Past Gone Mad